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Protester makes a splash in pool dispute

Anne Katherine begins with a breaststroke for her five-hour swim Monday. She invited other adults to swim in nearby lanes for an hour to support the protest.  - Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times
Anne Katherine begins with a breaststroke for her five-hour swim Monday. She invited other adults to swim in nearby lanes for an hour to support the protest.
— image credit: Liz Burlingame/Whidbey News-Times

A 62-year-old woman swam five consecutive hours and 140 laps Monday, for what she described as a protest swim.

Anne Katherine, a best-selling author, said the dispute involved the Admiral’s Cove Homeowners’ Association. Members of the seven-member board want to cut hours for the adult swim period at Admiral’s Cove pool.

“At the meeting, I pointed out that the adult swim had been cut by 25 percent. A board member said, ‘No one can swim more than an hour,’” said Katherine, who routinely swims a mile and a half each day. “So I thought, ‘I’ll show him.’”

She began her swim at noon, with only a handful of observers. Pool manager Kathleen Jones remained poolside counting her laps and miles.

While it’s not Olympic sized, the Admiral’s Cove pool is about 75-feet long. One mile of swimming equals about 35 laps.

Katherine is a “regular” at the pool, but has never swam competitively or for that length of time. She figured she would end the protest after four hours.

Under the afternoon sun, Katherine began with a gliding breaststroke and swam 10 laps in about 20 minutes. By 4:30 p.m., she’d swam three-and-a-half miles. She briefly exited the pool for a two-minute bathroom break and mouthful of food, before diving back in.

By the end, a small crowd was cheering her on.

“I was about to end it, but Kathleen said if I kept going five more laps, that would be four miles,” Katherine said. “I’m glad no one came up with any other bright ideas about why I should keep swimming.”

The protest ended due to general fatigue, the pool was near closing time and Katherine had scheduled a bridge game that night.

“I’m wondering if I can hold the cards up,” she said.

Katherine set a record for a marathon swim in the Admiral’s Cove pool and her friends handed her an award and flowers. She plans to bring a detailed list of her stats to the next Admiral’s Cove Homeowners’ Association meeting.

To accommodate some of the lost hours, Jones has extended the Monday through Friday schedule for adult swim to include the weekends.

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